85 per cent of women have experienced unwanted sexual attention, claims new survey

Crying womanA new survey has revealed that 85 per cent of women aged between 18 and 24 have received unwanted sexual attention in public places. A shocking 45 per cent of these have also experienced unwanted sexual touching.

Published on International Women’s Day, the new YouGov survey commissioned by End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW) also found that 64 per cent of women across all ages had been harassed. The survey saw examples of harassment include sexual comments, exposure, staring and wolf-whistling.

The survey questioned 1,650 women and they were asked how they thought sexual harassment in a public place could be improved. Most called for an increased police presence, while other suggestions included better street lighting, more transport staff and public awareness campaigns encouraging others to intervene.

Acting Director at EVAW, Sarah Green said, “Women and girls learn to deal with [it], but it’s time to hold a mirror up to it and challenge it.”

“We did this survey to find out about the scale of sexual harassment and the impact it has on the way women live. If women are planning their lives around not being harassed or assaulted, they are not free. Women should be free to live their lives without the threat of harassment and violence, not having to plan and limit their choices to make sure they’re safe.”

The survey has led to the Women’s Equality Party to call an end to sexual violence and harassment of women, saying it was time to reclaim our streets for women.

Sophie Walker, leader of the party said, “Young women are being taught that public space doesn’t belong to them.”

“Violence, harassment and abuse – both real and threatened – mean that women don’t feel safe on our streets in public areas.”

Continuing she said, “We know that women change their behaviour to try and avoid harassment, for example by taking different routes home, leaving work earlier and spending money on taxis in order not to rely on public transport.”

“We have to shift the burden from women to the perpetrators of this abuse.”


About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.

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